Healthful eating plan and regular physical activity can help reduce cancer risk

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease. While no cancer is 100% preventable, a healthful eating plan and regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of developing cancer, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Each March, as part of National Nutrition Month®, the Academy encourages people to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits that you can follow throughout the year and throughout your life. The theme of National Nutrition Month® 2023 is Fuel for the Future.

"Fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide you with nutrients and dietary fiber that can help lower your risk of developing cancer in the long term," says registered dietitian nutritionist and oncology nutrition specialist Amy Bragagnini, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

"Eating a variety of foods from all food groups keeps your meals interesting and healthful. Fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables all make your meal preparations easy," Bragagnini says.

Bragagnini offers tips to help reduce your cancer risk through nutrition:

  • "Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables: Add fresh berries to your low-fat or fat-free yogurt in the morning. Eat a dark green leafy kale salad for lunch. Stir fry some spinach, broccoli and cabbage to add atop a bed of riced cauliflower for dinner."
  • "Add legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils to your meals: Add black beans to your morning omelet. As a snack, use a carrot stick as an edible spoon with hummus. Make a big pot of bean chili or lentil soup for dinner."
  • "Include whole grains in your meals: Eat a warm bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit for breakfast, a whole grain barley bowl with baked chicken for lunch and a whole wheat roll with your dinner."
  • "Eat less red and processed meats: Prepare a tuna salad for lunch; a grilled chicken breast for dinner; or a meal without meat, such as whole wheat pasta primavera."
  • "Limit the amounts of added sugars and saturated fat; this information is available on the Nutrition Facts Label of foods."

The best thing you can do to fuel your future, and that of your whole family, is to visit a registered dietitian nutritionist, the food and nutrition expert. An RDN will help you develop a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan that meets your health goals, now and throughout your life."

Amy Bragagnini, registered dietitian nutritionist and oncology nutrition specialist

National Nutrition Month®

The theme of the 2023 National Nutrition Month® campaign is "Fuel for the Future" which encourages consumers to make healthful choices now to maintain their health throughout their lives. The Academy's website will host resources for consumers.

During National Nutrition Month® , the Academy celebrates RDNs on the second Wednesday of March during Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. This year's observance is March 8.

The Academy celebrates the inaugural Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered Day on March 9 to honor the contributions and experience of NDTRs, who are valuable members of the health care and foodservice management teams. The Academy will celebrate NDTR Day annually on the second Thursday in March.

National Nutrition Month® started in 1973 as National Nutrition Week, and it became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing interest in nutrition. To find an RDN near you, visit the Academy's Find a Nutrition Expert directory. Follow National Nutrition Month® on the Academy's social media channels including Facebook and Twitter using #NationalNutritionMonth.

Representing more than 112,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.

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